150 years of innovation

BE@150: It's a wrap

Berkeley Engineering 150Faces of featured Berkeley engineersAs the University of California’s sesquicentennial draws to a close, so too does our 150 Years of Innovation series celebrating the people and inventions that characterize the best of Berkeley Engineering.  Read more ...

Engineering innovators

  • Eli Yablonovitch

    Eli Yablonovitch: Father of photonic band engineering

    Eli Yablonovitch, professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, is renowned for his pioneering discoveries in optics and electronics.

  • Rachel Slaybaugh

    Rachel Slaybaugh: The future of nuclear

    Rachel Slaybaugh, professor of nuclear engineering, is at the forefront of thinking about how nuclear energy could be part of effective strategy to combat climate change.

  • Richard Muller

    Richard S. Muller: MEMS pioneer

    The 1970s introduced the Voyager Program, jumbo jets and MRI machines. But during a time of large-sized technological achievements, Richard S. Muller was concentrating on the small.

  • Bill Joy

    Bill Joy: Co-founder of Sun Microsystems

    Dubbed the “Edison of the Internet” by Fortune Magazine, Bill Joy is one of luminaries of tech. Years before personal computers were being widely used, he created software that would enable the rise of the modern internet.

    • Don Pederson

      Don Pederson: Creator of SPICE

      Don Pederson created SPICE, a program allows computer engineers to analyze and design complex electronic circuitry quickly and accurately.

    • Chelsea Finn

      Chelsea Finn: Teaching robots to learn

      Chelsea Finn is developing algorithms that enable robots to learn on their own by building on previous explorations and observations.

    • Andy Grove

      Andy Grove: Visionary CEO

      Andy Grove is credited with transforming Intel from a memory chip manufacturer into one of the world’s top microprocessor producers.

    • Adam Arkin

      Adam Arkin: Synthetic biology innovator

      Adam Arkin, professor of bioengineering, has pioneered the creation of frameworks to facilitate the design and engineering of new functions and behaviors in cells through synthetic biology.

    • Ashok Gadgil

      Ashok Gadgil: Humanitarian inventor

      Ashok Gadgil is a man of many interests. These days, he’s applying his multi-faceted expertise to improving the lives of millions in the developing world through fuel-efficient cookstoves and improving access to viable drinking water.

    • Barbara Simons

      Barbara Simons: Making votes count

      With the midterms rapidly approaching, there has been a flurry of news articles about the country’s ability to safeguard election results. But for Barbara Simons, this scrutiny is long overdue.

    • Paul Jacobs

      Paul Jacobs: Transforming wireless technology

      A notable innovator, executive and philanthropist, Paul Jacobs led Qualcomm in the development of key technologies that fueled wireless and mobile innovations.

    • David Patterson

      David Patterson: A winning RISC

      At a time when fellow computer scientists believed that semiconductor technology demanded increasingly complex architecture, David Patterson took the opposite approach. Simplification won out, and today, 99 percent of all microprocessors produced annually are based on the RISC technology he pioneered.

    • Ruzena Bajcsy

      Ruzena Bajcsy: Renowned engineer, 'enemy of the state'

      Before robotics and computer vision pioneer Ruzena Bajcsy came to UC Berkeley from her native Czechoslovakia, she had already overcome extraordinary obstacles in her life, beginning with losing her family to the Nazis and the Communists.

    • Leon and Byron Nishkian

      Leon and Byron Nishkian: A century of building

      Leon Nishkian and his son, Byron, left an indelible mark in Northern California and beyond, not only with the structures they designed and built, but with their vision of how engineers can help shape the character of a region.

    • Chang-Lin Tien

      Chang-Lin Tien: Inspirational educator, renowned engineer

      Berkeley chancellor and mechanical engineering professor Chang-Lin Tien was a popular administrator and highly regarded researcher in thermal science, as well as an outspoken champion of equal access and opportunity in higher education.

    • Steve Wozniak

      Steve Wozniak: Inventor and Apple co-founder

      Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 with Steve Jobs, starting the personal computing revolution and creating one of the most influential companies in history.

    • George Dantzig

      George Dantzig: Operations research phenom

      George Dantzig, one of the founding fathers of industrial engineering and operations research, developed the simplex algorithm and was the first person to formulate linear programming models.

    • Dawn Song

      Dawn Song: Privacy protector

      Dawn Song, Berkeley Engineering professor and alumna, is proving to be a formidable leader in cutting-edge security and privacy research.

    • Thomas Budinger

      Thomas Budinger: Better medical imaging

      Thomas Budinger, a world-renowned medical imaging researcher, was the founding chair of UC Berkeley’s bioengineering department.

    • Raymond Davis

      Raymond Davis: Materials lab leader

      Civil engineering professor Raymond Davis grew Berkeley’s Engineering Materials Laboratory into the preeminent facility for construction research.

    • Austin Whitney shakes hands with Homayoon Kazerooni at commencement

      Homayoon Kazerooni: Affordable mobility

      Robotic exoskeletons are enabling people in wheelchairs to reach new heights, but the devices are expensive. Homayoon Kazerooni, professor of mechanical engineering, is working to bring the price tag down so more people can afford the technology.

    • Chris Ategeka

      Christopher Ategeka: Addressing global poverty

      Christopher Ategeka is bringing healthcare services to underserved communities in Africa, as well as leading the conversation about the unintended consequences of technology.

    • Dawn Tilbury

      Dawn Tilbury: Shaping engineering research

      Berkeley Engineering alumna Dawn Tilbury has influence over the nation's fundamental engineering research and education as the head of the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Engineering.

    • Mock apartment block on the shaking table

      Shaking table: Advanced seismic safety

      PEER's 20-foot-square shaking table has been helping Berkeley engineers advance seismic research since it was unveiled in 1972 as the world’s first modern shaking table.

    • John Neerhout

      John Neerhout Jr.: Boring the Chunnel

      Mechanical engineering alumnus John Neerhout Jr. was a key figure in the construction of the 31-mile Channel Tunnel linking Great Britain and France. It is considered one of the greatest engineering achievements of the 20th century.

    • Clarence Cory

      Clarence Cory: Electrifying the West

      After installing equipment to supply light and power to the Berkeley campus, Clarence Cory developed pioneering technology for the electrification of the West.

    • Dean Sastry

      S. Shankar Sastry: Leadership in a changing world

      As the 12th dean of Berkeley Engineering, Shankar Sastry helped ensure that the education, research and public service mission of the college remained uncompromised in a changing society.

    • Chuck Radcliffe and prosthetic ankle

      Chuck Radcliffe: Prosthetics designer

      Mechanical engineering professor Charles "Chuck" Radcliffe was a pioneer in prosthetic design as well as the biomechanics of the amputee gait cycle.

    • Elizabeth Hausler

      Elizabeth Hausler: Building change

      Elizabeth Hausler is the founder and CEO of Build Change, an international nonprofit that designs disaster-resistant structures and trains homeowners and craftsmen in best construction practices.

    • Douglas Engelbart

      Douglas Engelbart: Computer visionary

      Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse and designed a computer collaboration system that was foundational to the development of personal computers and the internet.

    • Charles Gilman Hyde

      Charles Gilman Hyde: Dean of sanitary engineering

      Charles Gilman Hyde created environmental engineering practices during the early 20th century that supported California’s health and ecology, as well as developed Berkeley’s world-renowned sanitary engineering program.

    • Leslie Field

      Leslie Field: Climate change fixer

      Leslie Field (M.S.’88, Ph.D.’91 EECS) is using her engineering background to slow the effects of climate change.

    • Gary May

      Gary May: Diversity champion

      Gary May (M.S.'88, Ph.D.'91 EECS) has spent his career developing tools and programs for others to succeed by advocating for more diversity in STEM.

    • Andrew-Ian Gonzales Bullitt, Joseph Andrew Charbonnet and Tsai Chu Yeh

      Commencement speakers: Words of student wisdom

      Andrew-Ian Gonzales Bullitt, Joseph Andrew Charbonnet and Tsai Chu Yeh deliver this year's student addresses at the Berkeley Engineering commencement ceremonies.

    • John Whinnery

      John Whinnery: Fields and waves

      From the early days of the field, John Whinnery was a leader in electronic communications, who also played important roles as a campus leader.

    • Claudia Ostertag

      Claudia Ostertag: The future of concrete

      Civil and environmental engineering professor Claudia Ostertag is researching ways to make concrete more sustainable, without compromising its durability or strength.

    • Dave Dornfeld

      Dave Dornfeld: Leader in sustainable manufacturing

      Dave Dornfeld, first faculty director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, was a leader in green and sustainable manufacturing, as well as an influential teacher and mentor.

    • Rohan Phadte

      Rohan Phadte: Fake news fighter

      EECS student Rohan Phadte is building machine learning technologies to aid in the battle against fake news and misinformation on the internet.

    • T.Y. Lin

      T.Y. Lin: Visionary structural engineer

      T.Y. Lin perfected the use of prestressed concrete, profoundly changing the history of building construction throughout the world.

    • Rube Goldberg

      Rube Goldberg: An engineer's engineer

      Rube Goldberg, engineer tuned award-winning cartoonist, celebrated the simple art of needless complexity.

    • Shafi Goldwasser

      Shafi Goldwasser: Cryptography pioneer

      Shafi Goldwasser, director of Berkeley’s Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing , has made major contributions to cryptography and numerous other fields, creating work that “is crucial to the fabric of our connected digital society.”

    • Alice Agogino

      Alice Agogino: Diversity by design

      Alice Agogino's wide-ranging interests and expertise are reflected in the many facets of her BEST lab: space robots, sustainable technology, design education, and fostering diversity and inclusion in engineering.

    • Pete Bragg teaching

      Pete Bragg: Materials science pioneer

      Robert “Pete” Bragg Jr. was an expert in the structure and electronic properties of carbon materials, as well as an ardent supporter of diversity programs at Berkeley.

    • BRETT and Pieter Abbeel

      BRETT: Deep-learning robot

      BRETT the robot has learned to master a variety of tasks through trial and error, or what is known in artificial intelligence as "deep learning."

    • Nery Barrera

      Nery Barrera: Forest guardian

      Nery Barrera, a member of the civil and environmental engineering class of 2018 from Guatemala, knows firsthand the importance of environmental protection.

    • Archie Williams

      Archie Williams: Olympic champion and Air Force colonel

      After winning a gold medal in the 400-meter race at the 1936 Summer Olympics, Archie Williams became an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later a teacher.

    • Christine Ho

      Christine Ho: Printing batteries

      Christine Ho invented a new battery chemistry and a print-based manufacturing process to simultaneously fabricate and place microscopic batteries onto wireless sensors.

    • Robert Bea

      Robert Bea: Dr. Disaster

      Civil and environmental engineering professor emeritus Robert Bea, the Master of Disaster, has built a remarkable career studying failures – both engineering and human – in hopes we can learn from them.

    • Julia Morgan

      Julia Morgan: Iconic architect

      Julia Morgan, who graduated in 1894 with a degree in civil engineering, was an architectural pioneer and "a true California gem."

Montage of images from Berkeley Engineering history

Milestones of engineering

Want to learn more about where Berkeley Engineers have been, and what they've accomplished? Visit our timeline of college history.